Kyle Oyster knows following in anyone's footsteps can be a difficult thing at times.

Kyle Oyster knows following in anyone's footsteps can be a difficult thing at times.

But when he was approved last Thursday during a school board meeting as the new girls basketball at Watkins Memorial High School, he could only think that good times lie ahead.

"This is a dream come true, my first job as head varsity coach," said Oyster, who has spent six years coaching in the school district. "I grew up in a coaching family and it's the ultimate goal for me to get my opportunity just like the rest of my family has done."

Oyster's father John Oyster coached football, girls basketball and boys basketball at Mount Gilead when Kyle was growing up. Kyle's uncle, Chris Kubbs, is currently football coach at Marion Pleasant and formerly coached baseball for the Spartans.

Kyle's mother Cathy Oyster was a middle-school teacher in Mount Gilead.

"I grew up in a family of teachers and coaches and it's something that I also fell in love with," Kyle Oyster said. "Coaching is teaching. You're teaching concepts and strategies about the sport to the kids."

Oyster, who teaches sixth-grade social studies, was a middle-school football coach and last season was a junior varsity boys basketball coach.

"We had several applicants for the position, but we felt Kyle had been within our coaching ranks for six years and deserved the opportunity based on the work he's done with our kids," athletics director John McGiffin said. "He demonstrated that he's ready to lead a program. He has a vision of where he'd like the program to be and has indicated that developing a more competitive youth program is the key piece."

The Warriors went 15-27 in past two seasons under Steve Hare, including7-14 last year when they lost to Worthington Kilbourne 38-31 in the first round of the Division I district tournament.

Watkins Memorial lost four recent graduates from that team, most notably 5-foot-11 post player Christina Myers. She was among central Ohio leaders in scoring (21.8 points per game) and rebounding (9.4).

"We have a good schedule and a chance to be competitive the first season," Oyster said. "It will be important for us to have some success early so the girls buy into what I'm teaching. But I am planning for us to have a winning record."

The Warriors will return three starters who played key roles as juniors in Krista Derry, Sam Leonard and Mallory Lewis. Others expected to return include junior Jordan Lyday, sophomores Sarah Arnett, Amber Hartley and Cassie Vaughn, as well as freshman post player Mallory Warrington.

"I like an up-tempo style, but it's not about what I like," Oyster said. "I've got to mold my style to the talent we have. I'm flexible and will work around what we've got and not ask the girls to do something they may not be capable of doing."

Oyster said he plans to work hard to get a strong youth program organized.

"That's one of the main goals, to get interest up and to be able to have success," he said. "If you look at our successful programs in baseball, football and soccer, you see that a strong youth program is vital.

"Right now, we've got girls entering seventh and eighth grades who have never played competitive basketball before. It's late in the game by that stage. We need to have them learn dribbling, passing and shooting drills before that level."

Oyster hopes to begin those concepts during a youth camp for girls entering grades 4-8 on June 30 to July 3. The camp will run from 9-11:30 a.m. at the high school.

For more information, call the school at (740) 927-3417.